09/15/11 10:05 PM ET
Catcher Pagnozzi arrives in L.A. for first game
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
In fact, he had just finished one of his workout sessions at the gym at his home near Phoenix when he picked up his phone to a slew of missed calls.
Seconds later, the ex-Rockies catcher found out he was just given another chance. Acquired by the Pirates off waivers from Colorado on Wednesday, Pagnozzi was in the clubhouse before Pittsburgh's game in Los Angeles on Thursday.
"I was hoping for [the call], I really was," he said. "It was kind of weird. The last two Septembers, I wasn't home, and this September I was. Honestly, I didn't like the feeling. I was hoping something would happen. I knew it was kind of a long shot, but it did, and I'm here. I'm thankful for it."
The 28-year-old played seven games for the Rockies, hitting .286. He played 54 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs this year, where he hit .275 with three homers and 29 RBIs. Pagnozzi spent 2009 and 2010 with the Cardinals, hitting .333 in 42 at-bats.
Pagnozzi, who wasn't in the lineup on Thursday, called his last 24 hours "a whirlwind," noting that he feels the final two weeks of the season will serve as a chance for him to make a name for himself in an organization with a fluid catching situation.
"I think they want to get an evaluation," Pagnozzi said. "I might get a start here or there, but I'm gonna be ready to play. I'll let them take care of how they want to use me."
An evaluation is exactly what manager Clint Hurdle said he is looking for, saying, "We've only got two weeks to get a first impression upon him. But we acquired him with a long-term vision."
Hurdle added that he wants to give Pagnozzi time to catch the pitching staff in the bullpen before throwing him into games, but he may play a bit this weekend.
After an afternoon meeting, Hurdle said he was pleased with Pagnozzi's mindset and readiness to work. He added that he sees some pop in Pagnozzi's bat in addition to being a solid "catch-and-throw guy."
"We think at this point in time in his career, there's still some upside that we can help him attain with the bat," Hurdle said. "He's already solid with the glove and calling a game, but hopefully we can help him improve in those areas, too."
Hughes excited to return to Dodger Stadium
LOS ANGELES -- Entering Dodger Stadium on Thursday was nothing new to Jared Hughes.
But entering Dodger Stadium through the visitor's clubhouse and walking on to the field? Well that was something entirely different for the tall righty, who spends his offseason in Culver City, Calif., and attended 10 Dodgers games a year growing up.
"I've been to quite a few Dodgers games in my life, so it's a familiar feeling being in the stadium," the Pirates rookie reliever said. "But it's pretty great to be on the field and have a chance to compete on the field."
Hughes, who was called up this month and made his debut on Sept. 7, said he left about 40 tickets for his family on Saturday, but was worried if that was going to be enough. As for catching up with old friends, Hughes said he'll spend the weekend seeing mostly family -- his parents, fiancee and sister.
If he gets the call in Thursday's game -- the first of a four-game weekend series, Hughes, who hasn't allowed a run in five appearances, said he thinks he'll feel some emotions.
"I'm sure the adrenaline will be flowing out there," he said. "It's a pretty cool, pretty neat feeling to be able to come play in the place I grew up watching Major League Baseball.
Bucs don Hawaiian shirts for bonding activity
LOS ANGELES -- Clint Hurdle, looking for a goofy team bonding activity on the Pirates' trip west to Los Angeles, learned from a past mistake and went with comfort over style.
Hurdle recalled a time when one of his teams wore '70s disco clothing, which he said was funny for about an hour before the players started feeling discomfort from the tight outfits.
This time? He went with Hawaiian shirts.
"A little more comfortable," Hurdle kidded.
The Cardinals, leaving PNC Park, were in the midst of rookie hazing by dressing their first-year players up, which Hurdle said the Pirates wouldn't take part in.
"The hazing thing isn't gonna happen here," he said. "I've had teams that have, but from an organizational policy it's just not in place. We'll attack some things in different ways to have that bonding environment. I just wanted to do something different, and we got everyone on the team to do something different."
Starting pitcher Brad Lincoln appreciated Hurdle's sympathy for calling for comfort, and he noted the benefits of the experience for the team.
"When you can get an entire team to come together to do something like that, it brings us together, gives us a laugh," Lincoln said.
AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.